Andre Ward finishes Sergey Kovalev in eighth round, retains titles

Andre Ward finishes Sergey Kovalev in eighth round, retains titles

LAS VEGAS Andre Ward wont apologize for the close decision that Sergey Kovalev insists should have gone his way when the light heavyweights fought in November.

The American wobbled Kovalev with a right hand in the eighth and finished him off with a series of body shots.

Again the Russian started stronger, with Ward firing off enough counter-shots to keep himself in the fight but looking tired between rounds.

As Kovalev lurched around the ring, Ward trapped him in the corner and rammed in a succession of shots around the belt line and the shaken fighter was sagging on the ropes as Weeks swiftly signalled the finish. When I saw him starting to react to body shots that was borderline, I knew I had him and had to just keep going down.

LAS VEGAS – After leaving no doubt who was the best light heavyweight around, Andre Ward talked about securing his place as one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world and perhaps even one day moving up to heavyweight.

Promoter Kathy Duva, angrily facing a “press conference” that was populated with Ward fans, said it was “inconceivable” that Kovalev could lose on “all those low blows in a row”, and promised to appeal the decision to the Nevada state athletic commission.

“Championship fights don’t start until l the sixth round”, Ward said.

Kovalev was known as the big puncher of the pair, so it was a satisfying conclusion for Ward, who unleashed some firepower on the “Krusher” in the final moments of the fight against an opponent who had promised to knock him out and end his career.

Without any hesitations, we might say that Kovalev was robbed last night. He is thick and strong, weighing in at over 245lbs for his last fight in May, but while a decent puncher, he doesn’t carry the same scary power as Joshua and Wilder.

‘I don’t think Kovalev complained about it, he was in a submissive position. That’s what he’s been doing since I was a kid.

On the undercard, two-time Olympic gold medalist Guillermo Rigondeaux defeated Moises Flores with a controversial fight-ending punch at the close of the first round to retain his WBA junior featherweight title. “I’m not into taking two (punches) to get one”.

“He’s a good fighter, and I have nothing but respect for him”, he said.

Kovalev said he doesn’t know what happened and can’t explain why he was stopped by the referee.

The rematch was booked nearly immediately with a lot of bad blood being shared between the two boxers going into the fight. Ward wanted to prove that his previous win over Sergey Kovalev was not a gift and Sergey wanted to show that he was a victim of poor scoring. “I hope the whole world sees what it’s like to get in the ring with me”. If you were to single out one thing to make it a competitive fight for yourself, you take that chance. “The fight should have continued”.

Showtime will televise on its pay-per-view arm. “Heavyweight? I dream big, and everything is possible when you have God”. Kovalev, though, is more nuanced and versatile than Stevenson.